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A Food Pantry Meeting the Need in a Food Desert

A Food Pantry Meeting the Need in a Food Desert

The First New Christian Fellowship Church has been a partner of the Food Bank for over 25 years, serving the South LA community

A food desert is defined as a geographical region where one-third of the population lacks access to affordable, and nutritious food. The South Los Angeles Area where the First New Christian Fellowship Church stands is in the heart of it all.

The closest grocery store to the Church is almost two miles out. For someone without transportation means, or that may have a disability, having access to fresh fruits and vegetables may not be an option. However, access to greasy and fatty fast foods is just around the corner.

The First New Christian Fellowship Church has been a partner agency of the LA Regional Food Bank for over 25 years. And since it became a partner agency, it started asking for more fresh fruits and vegetables that can be distributed to its recipients that can’t make the trip to the grocery store. The Food Bank responded and now they distribute fresh produce every week.

Meeting the Need Where it’s Needed

Senior Pastor Norman Johnson has been with First New Christian Fellowship Church for over 30 years. During this time, he has gotten to know members of the community, as well as individuals that attend the church solely to pick up food for their families. For many, he recalls, the food distributions are a “lifeline” for families. 

The food distributions started as a way to help those individuals and families who were in need of food assistance. However, through time, emergencies like the pandemic, and now, with the impact of inflation, the need has grown in the community. 

The impact of inflation has changed shopping behaviors, as well as transportation methods, limiting families’ budgets at the grocery store or at the gas pump in order to just make it through the month. With this in mind, the First New Christian Fellowship Church has continued serving the food desert community and goes the extra mile by helping those with transportation limitations.

“The right to eat is the most fundamental human right we have,” said Pastor Johnson. “Everyone deserves the right to eat.”

The Impact of a Food Pantry

After receiving the Middle-Class Tax Refund debit card, Elme Garcia was excited to go to the grocery store to buy what his family of five needed. He loaded his cart with water, milk, and eggs, among other items, then headed to the checkout. Little did he know that cyber thieves had depleted all the money that was deposited. Garcia left the grocery store empty-handed.

For the last three months from the time of our interview, Garcia attended the food distribution at First New Christian Fellowship every Thursday as a way to help his family’s grocery budget. As the only person employed in his household, he knows and feels the impact of attending these food distributions.

“If we didn’t need the help, we wouldn’t be here,” Garcia said. “But it’s something that helps us.”

By supporting the Food Bank, you are supporting programs like the one at First New Christian Fellowship Church in South Los Angeles. $1 donated is the equivalent of four meals. If you are in a position to do so, please donate.

Join the fight against hunger!

If you are in a position to do so, consider donating to the Food Bank and supporting our programs.

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